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In this sentence,

Which of those would you like?

Here is what I understand that words like ''which" and "none" are singular and can be plural. The word "which" is a relative pronoun that is plural because the demonstrative pronoun those is plural.

However, I think the noun "you" is singular and the verb "like" is singular and "would" is a helping verb that is past tense (neither singular or plural and "you" is singular).

The general rule is that if you use a singular noun you must use a singular verb and if you use a plural noun, you must you a plural verb.

My main question is:

Why doesn't the general rule apply to the sentence above and a plural noun as well as a plural verb is used instead of a singular noun and verb?

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  • It's a little unclear what you're asking. What do you mean by "plural/singular verb"? Can you include the version of the sentence you would expect to see? Is it something like "Which of those would you all likes"?
    – Juhasz
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:47
  • Your question and posting is simply unintelligible.
    – Lambie
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:54

2 Answers 2

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The general rule is that if you use a singular noun you must use a singular verb and if you use a plural noun, you must you a plural verb.

No. This is wrong.

The verb agrees with the subject.

The verb is "would"

So we look at the verb table for would

I would
You would
It would
We would
You would
They would

(Past tense verbs are easy!)

The subject is "you" so the correct grammar is "You would"

In this question the verb is inverted, so it becomes

...would you like

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Those is plural, but Which of those is a selection from those, and could be singular or plural - more often singular, I think.

Like is neither singular nor plural: as it is governed by a modal (would) it is the base form of the verb.

You is a pronoun which can be singular or plural. Here it is probably singular, but not necessarily - depends on how many people you're addressing.

Whether which of those is singular or plural, it is the object of the verb like (or the verb phrase would like), and verbs do not agree with their objects in English (or most European languages) but only with their subject.

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